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A message for manufacturers/distributors

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Stuart Wright, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    What we are trying to achieve at the AV Forums is to produce a useful archive of information freely available to people wanting help and advice with all aspects of AV and home cinema in particular.
    In recognition of the fact that
    1) many people posting on the AV Forums are giving the wrong advice because they are misinformed and
    2) despite knowing the above to be the case, manufacturers reading the forums can’t reply with the correct information because of corporate policy or the fear of members’ expectations once they have entered into a dialogue
    I would like to invite representatives of manufacturers to contact me directly by email (click here)
    with the information needed to correct any factual errors they see posted (usually relating to their products) on the AV Forums.
    Please include a link to the thread in question.
    I will then post a reply to the thread with the information you have sent me. I will introduce your message with something like ‘when asked about this question/issue/problem, company name said…’. Or if you prefer it introduced with your own choice of words, just let me know.
    In this way you have the opportunity to correct some factual mistakes made on the AV Forums (something we think is very important and would be grateful for help in achieving) without worrying about corporate policy or direct contact from forum members.
    Thanks for your attention
     
  2. phelings

    phelings
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    Its a pity the folks who run DVD Reviewer forums don't agree that incorrect info should be corrected.
    However,I doubt many who actually work for manufacturers will either be reading internet forums as members,or be bothered to post corrections.
    Nice thought though.
     
  3. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    So happens that several people who work for manufacturers have told me that they feel frustrated that they can't post. I'm hoping they'll take the opportunity to get the message over via a 3rd party.
     
  4. arn

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    Can't they just put on their signature.. My opinions are my own and not that of the company?
    Or haven't these people even asked those higher in their company if they can post?
    Seems very strange that a hell of a lot of people who purchase high end gear can't get a response from the other side.

    P.S My opinions are my own :smashin:
     
  5. kwijibo

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    that probably more to the point. A day or too not answering could turn very nasty for them
     
  6. greyhorse

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    the other way with several companies entering the arena to help sort out problems. http://forums.vnunet.com/forum.jsp?forum=6

    This is where you are open to a killing if your product is not right.

    Do a search on Mesh computers and see what battles Davey enters into to defend his brand of PC's. Makes a good read. :D :D :D :D
     
  7. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    Representing a company here has its ups and downs.....

    Nonetheless I think the idea is a good one for anybody representing a company unofficially (and yes I am aware that having a small picture of Big O as an Avatar, a silly user name and a nonsensical signiture isn't immeadiatley indicative of being a manufacturers rep but hey I like them :)).
     
  8. Cliff

    Cliff
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    Excellent idea.
    Of course there are many people within an organisation who probably know the answers but are not authorised to reply. One could get into deep water over something like that!
     
  9. lawrenso

    lawrenso
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    I don't see why manufacturers don't post directly - if you look in google groups, under microsoft listings you will find many of Microsoft staff posting there directly to users - if it becomes a long one, they then request the people with the problem to officially log a call. This is a process that MS actively encourages as a company. They also have a award called MVP (Most Valued Professional) for people they see consistently giving good advice and fault rectification for issues on the groups - in other words - saving them work ;)

    If more manufacturers done something along those lines, I am sure it would be picked up by the forum users and then word of mouth propogation etc... and business may pick up. Perhaps they could even come up with a MVP for forum members (although I don't think Horny Dragon - or is that MAW - will get one from Hitatchi :devil: )

    Just my two penneth worth

    Lawrenso
     
  10. mucca_D

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    The company I work for a directive that says that unless you have been PR / Press trained then you can not do anything that can be directly quoted against.

    When we do expos we have what is known as a press representative that speaks on our behalf.

    Most support would be welocmed but that one time that that one thing is twisted or used aginst you and bang your out of a job!!!!!

    Stuart, It may be worth you asking each company for a contact that could be the main point of contact to field questions though or explain to them that it would be in their interest to have a forum dedicated to the support of there product?

    If they responed with the we woul dnot have the time just ask them to ask all the staff if they use avforums already as most companies have forum addictes that would probably jump to represent them.

    Two pennies and all that
     
  11. caleb

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    Another thing we lack in these forums is a degree of common sense.
    You get people asking advice about which equipment to buy instead of going out and listening themselves - are we so unsure of ourselves that we need this?

    Also posts that say "I've gone crazy listening to so and so" - were they listening to the music or the equipment?

    Very tired of reading this kind of rubbish I am afraid.
     
  12. FoxyMulder

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    The problem with PR and press trained people is that they can sometimes lie and give false information themselves, i would much rather hear knowledgable views than have a PR person "claim" a product is capable of doing something it isn't capable of doing.

    I am all for more manufacturer involvement on these forums but would prefer real people with real knowledge and not the powderpuff public relations type who are reading from a manual.
     
  13. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    Some people obviously are so overwhelmed by the complexity of the subject that they would much rather have the experts guide them.
    And it's precisely because people need help that I would like manufacturers to participate more.

    mucca_D there are so many manufacturers and I have so little time that gathering contact information and then forwarding questions to manufacturers is simply not an option.
    I know that manufacturers read these forums. It would be much easier if they could simply send me a private message in response to a specific issue.
     
  14. Antpink

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    I think it's a good idea, but I can see that many manufacturers would not like to get into heated discussions and potential hot water by responding. As a possibility, why don't you set up a Manufacturers Forum that allows the various brands to post the following information:
    1. Links to soft copy brochures
    2. Links to soft copy manuals
    3. Links to FAQ sections for their products
    4. Links to their websites and their "equipment reviewed" sections
    5. Links to their contact email to report issues or problems with their equipment

    You could limit this forum to post access only from recognised manufacturer personnel to avoid having a zillion people jumping into these threads and cluttering them with the usual nonsense, except for maybe an ability to post into a dedicated thread to highlight broken links.

    Seems like the majority of questions about hardware relate to "can it do this?" "does it have this?" "how should I set this up?" etc. which I have found 99/100 can be answered from reading the literature.
     
  15. Paul D

    Paul D
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    Stuart, i think you have found the best way all round.

    I have seen time and time again, forum members badgering and harassing anybody brave enough to put their name to a product.

    It all starts off nice , but quickly goes down hill.
    Most people are polite and like the idea of having a direct link with a manufacturer. However not all people realise how fragile this relationship is, and barge in ranting and raving. :(

    Steve May (Editor of Home Cinema Choice) used to be an active member of these forums. But quickly tired of people telling him how to run his magazine.
    Countless other industry insiders still browse here, but remain quiet to avoid any hassles.
    The proof comes during my travels around the country to various demos and shows etc.
    During many conversations with the top bods, they will mention certain posts and posters! :smashin:
     
  16. daverob

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    Well done Caleb - at long last a very responsive statement. Thank you for this reply. I fully endorse your view, so come on, all those posts who appear to be afraid to endorse what their ears hear, rather than rely upon the views of others. For goodness sake, go out and audition equipment you believe will meet your needs, and then decide for yourself, without having to rely upon others.
     
  17. KS Rai

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    Congrats. You've neatly summed up exactly why so many manufacturers/members of the press steer clear of these forums.

    Factor in the enormous amount of time and effort required to maintain a dialogue and you have a compelling recipe for complete non-involvement.

    Know exactly the sort you're talking about - dealt with them for years - but please don't tar all PR people with the same brush. I'm an ex-editor of What Video & TV, began life at What Hi-Fi? and spent 14 years reviewing and writing about hi-fi/AV equipment.

    Call me vain but I'd like to think I've learnt a thing or two during that time...
     
  18. hornydragon

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    KS Rai as you are a PR representative, it would be useful to know who you represent. I know that there are meny "industry" insiders (staff) who brwose and post on the forum, however there have been several threads recently where it appears that to post advice or opinion on a product you must include your Employers name, yor qualifications, your personal "kit list" and inside leg measurement....................I for one am not going to do this. People can take my advice or not thats their choice. I can offer advice or not, thats my choice. MAnufacturers can choose to offer support via an open forum or solely via dealer network, that is their choice, but i think there are commercial advantages to having a public face, and being able to contact senior people does add some weight to their brand. one particular UK based manufactirer would get all of persaonal business if their local dealers werent such stuck-up clowns. Pity as they only supply via dealers.................
     
  19. KS Rai

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    If you click on the name and check the public profile you can see who I represent :smashin:

    I take your point re having a public face on the forums - it's an entirely valid one - but that doesn't count for much when well-meaning manufacturers/retailers get 'flamed' before they've barely had a chance to contribute something helpful. It's not much of an incentive to carry on getting involved.

    The other point that's worth making is that, unfortunately, even constructive statements of fact, posted in order to correct blatant untruths or put right misconceptions, are often construed as 'advertising'... if they cast the manufacturer/retailer in a positive light. My very first posts to the forums were deleted by a moderator for that very reason.

    It's a very fine line but one that's clearly weighted in favour of forum members who are at liberty to say what they like about manufacturers and retailers, without much in the way of significant restriction. The same does not apply to manufacturers/retailers.

    That's another reason why so many on this side of the 'fence' believe it's not worthwhile to post...
     
  20. hornydragon

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    Well it is a consumer forum, John Dawson saw it as worthwhile........
    If manufacturers are going to flamed when they first post in relation to an issue its because they have already built up consumer disapointment and negative press already, but have failed to deal with it effectively, i feel that if you continue to bury your heads in the sand it will be primarily your loss but potentially our loss. Happy customer spend more money than hacked off ones.........and i belive a few of your clients could learn from this.
     
  21. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    Sorry, Rai, but you are quite wrong here.
    If you look at our forum rules
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/view.php?pg=rules
    about half way down at 'What you can and can't say about people...' you'll see that this very issue is addressed with a clear indication that I will err on the side of the named parties in such circumstances.
    People will have an opinion - often founded on misinformation and ignorance - and it is impossible to stop them from airing it. I hope that manufacturers and their representatives such as yourself will correct misinformation either directly or through me. If it is done correctly, you won't fall foul of rule 7.
     
  22. Razor

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    I personally think that there are allot of products on the market which shouldn't be there. I have had issues with Optoma over the RD65. It was demoed as a 60Hz compatible display and I bought it on this assumption. It was only after a few days I noticed this set juddered with a 60Hz source. I contacted Optoma and they didn't know anything about this and basically dismissed my findings. It was only after a week or two of constant phone calls and been passed around from pillar to post did they admit there was a fault.

    Who on earth field tested this set, a display that cant produce a correct 60Hz signal in 2004 is laughable. I had to threaten to take this information to the AV press, which Optoma ignored until John Archer from HCC contacted them. Only then was Optoma really interested in dealing with me as negative publicity was at their door.

    It took Optoma over 3 months to try out scalers to see if this removed the problem. Their results wasn't good. They couldn't get rid of the judder. Why did it take them so long to try out scalers. I managed to correct the fault to 90% judder free with a HTPC and powerstrip. Optoma haven't been successful at all in this area and have just dismissed the set as non NTSC compatible. I also had to threaten to take action with Optoma if they didn't change their advertising to read Not NTSC compatible, as this wasn't done and more customers were being mislead. Optoma are still to produce a hard copy of the manual for the RD65 and I have never received a HDMI/DVI adapter which is listed as part of the package. I have phoned and written on this subject many times but 6 months later I have received nothing to date. How much does it cost to print a manual and supply and HDMI to DVI adapter?

    What I am getting at here is that it is ok for manufactures to release faulty goods or incomplete goods and still take our hard earned money.

    But we cant complain or our complaints just get ignored. We are often told that this is a feature of the product you have bought and you will have to live with it. What really annoys me is when they say the next generation of your product probably wont have this fault.

    Are these manufactures using us the customers to field test and correct their products, or are they just releasing these products to meet deadlines and fight off competition from other manufactures rival products?

    I think these forums are the only place that the consumer can find good advice on a product. After all the magazines cant demo these products for many months, as they have deadlines and new equipment to test. I find magazine reviews a good guide line but its only when you live with a product can you really give it a fair assement.
    I have only found these forums due to the hassles I have had with Optoma and I must say i am glad i have. I wont buy any AV product again without first reading posts on the item. Then and only then will I make up my mind if the manufacturer deserves my business.

    I also doubt I will ever purchase another product from Optoma ever again due to the treatment and disregard of its products and its customers. All these companies love you when you part with your cash but most (not all) do not want to know if you have any issues with their product. I normally find that small companies such as Quad dont have these problems mentioned above and treat their customers very well, which is why they keep going back. I found their staff more enthusiast's who were getting paid to help rather than paid employes which dont know what they are doing.

    Sorry for the long post. :)
     
  23. KS Rai

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    Hi Stuart

    Complicated one this. While the rules you mention are there to catch obviously libellous and defamatory postings I would hold that it's a very difficult thing to distinguish between a fairly held and expressed opinion and postings with a nefarious intent, albeit expressed in a manner that does not contradict your rules.

    It's not a issue that's unique to the AV Forums... all such forums have to wrestle with these probs. Frankly there's no way that you'll ever stop such things happening because that's the intrinsic nature of the things. They are places where opinions can, by definition, be expressed and exchanged. That's entirely right but there will always be glitches.

    I'm not knocking you guys for what you do to police things - I'm just saying that you face an uphill, near impossible task...

    And in any case opinions will always differ as to what constitutes an unfair slur.

    An example. In the specific case that I mentioned, a moderator started a thread querying why a manufacturer (Jamo) was still selling a speaker design that was 3-4 years old... and why magazines were still reviewing it, the implication being that the speaker must be past it.

    I replied because there's no need to replace something if it wasn't broke, a point of view that was actually echoed by another member.

    The moderator stated that he would expect me to say that because I managed the PR for the company, adding that my opinion was bound to be biased as a result.

    I pointed out that actually there was plenty of independent proof to support what I was saying so in reply I posted a list of Best Buys and 5-star ratings that the product had received... throughout 2004.

    As far as I was concerned that was a fair, informative response to what I considered an unfair accusation against me and a slur on the capabilities of the product concerned. The product would surely not be receiving Best Buys 4 years after it was launched if it was in any way uncompetitive... ergo, proving my contention.

    But the fact that I posted that information meant my action was seen as posting advertising for the company... and my posts were subsequently deleted.

    Do you see what I mean? The difficulty is in the interpretation... that's what I meant when I said that statements of fact can be construed as advertising. If a regular non-affiliated forum member had posted those results to prove the same point there wouldn't be a problem.

    But because I - a manufacturer's PR representative - posted them, they were considered advertising.

    As you suggest Stuart, directing responses through yourself might correct such anomalies. Tis certainly worth a try...

    [BTW I'm not suggesting that the moderator had any 'nefarious' intent in this saying what he said on the thread mentioned...]
     
  24. KS Rai

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    With respect I have to disagree. The demographic of folk who visit a forum such as this anything but typical.

    A manufacturer/retailer may well have satisfied 99 per cent of their customers but if the dissatisfied one percent are forum posters it is their opinion that will be most audible and which will influence those reading the threads.

    Many more folk may well have had great experiences with a manufacturer or retailer but there's seldom the same compulsion to be as vocal about it.

    That can, and often does, lead to a distorted view on these forums that's at odds with the reality out there in the real, as opposed to, online world.

    Just my tuppenceworth :)
     
  25. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    Rai,
    I can't remember the specific circumstances of the Jamo thread you refer to, but it's possible that the wording of your reply made it come across slightly as promotional rather than factual. That's the sort of thing which will draw attention to a response such as yours.
    Whatever the details, I regret that you might feel you were unfairly treated and posts from you on the subject of Jamo are welcome.

    Typical of whome? I think as more people get connected to the 'net, you will find more and more people educating themselves on the AV Forums, and less and less people relying on magazines.
    Let's face it, home cinema is a hobby and people enjoy it to widely varying degrees and with widely varying budgets.
    Anyhow, the people vising this forum are EXACLTY the target audience Jamo should want to target their advertising at.
    And with more readers than What Hi Fi magazine, how come they aren't placing Jamo adverts in the speakers forum?
     
  26. hornydragon

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    You seem to have missed the point, there are a lot of cases of people stading up for retailers. If you beleive the majority of members are dissatisifed trouble makers you are sorely mistaken, if anything the forum eases the life of manufacturers by handling technical issues directly, share information and actually testing the product. Take the basic question of how to connect the new equipment you have just purchased to the existing equipment already in place. Manufacturers and most retailer offer little or no support. User manuals are often poorly written and only include the very basics. The forum offers advice on an individual basis to anyone who requests it. Could your clients manage that on their own? Do the staff actually have any experince of the product in question (particulalry relevent wen mixing and matching ranges and or manufacturers)? SO there really is no reason not to participate (i must also add that manufacturer training for retailers and their own staff is often woeful).


    I will leave you with a quote from a plasma manufacturer:
     
  27. Ian J

    Ian J
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    In order to be strictly accurate, in February 2004 a forum member (not a moderator) started a thread asking why What Hifi were reviewing speakers that were three years old.

    Eleven months later you posted the following:-

    It was less the information that was posted but more the promotional style of the response that caused me to reply:-

     
  28. KS Rai

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    Re who started the thread - I stand corrected.

    Re: the 'promotional' style of the response. Eh? The reply was short, succinct and to the point... how is that a crime?

    The only thing that could remotely be construed as being 'promotional' in that reply is the use of the word 'brilliant'... but it's not.

    I've heard and used those speakers so I can actually proffer an opinion based on experience. In the context of dedicated home cinema applications, and bearing in mind the price that they are available at, they are exactly that.

    In the very next email that I posted (also deleted) I provided more than ample justification for the use of that description by listing the assorted 5-star and Best Buy results the system had garned in 2004, 3-4 years after's its launch [remember what the thread was originally about?]. Independent opinions from knowledgable writers on different unaffiliated magazines.

    In what way was that 'promotional'? The person who began the thread was clearly nonplussed that a system so old was still worthy of meriting coverage... I explained why that was so.

    Were the interests of Forum members better served by deleting completely factual information which I provided specifically to prove that what I had said was true, both in my opinion and in the opinion of authoratative magazines in the sector?

    Had I not used the word 'brilliant' would you have let the posts stand? What if a forum member had said the speakers were brilliant instead of me...and then failed to produce a single scrap of evidence to back up his/her assertion. Would that be a more useful, a more legitimate post?

    As I have said previously , I truly believe that you guys have a difficult, nigh on impossible job - you have my sympathy - but making editorial judgements based on your personal predjudices does your position no credit.

    In making these observations I'm just trying to show how things can look from this side, and offer some explanations as to why so many manufacturers/retailers come to the conclusions they do, that getting involved simply isn't worth the potential grief.

    Yes there are many manufacturers who willingly get involved on these forums - and I know many of them, good guys they are too - but there are many more who who point-blank refuse to speak up. They, too, have their reasons...
     
  29. KS Rai

    KS Rai
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  30. KS Rai

    KS Rai
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    Stuart - the people on this forum are certainly one of the audiences that Jamo might care to target its adverts at. However, where manufacturers and retailers choose to place advertising is not a matter that I try to get involved in [ far too dirty a business :) ]and frankly it's a matter for them alone.

    To be honest I don't think the subject of advertising should even enter into this particular discussion. I thought this thread was about finding ways of correcting factual errors from unqualified posters? :confused:
     

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